People are getting married older. Since the 1970s, the median age for women marrying for the first time has increased by nearly five years. Today, the average age women get married is 29 and the average age men tie the knot is 31. That’s a far-cry from our grandparent’s generation, during which people would marry immediately out of college and even high school sometimes. What perplexes many parents of millennials today isn’t necessarily that they get married later, but that they carry on committed relationships, with live-in partners, for years before getting married. Many parents (perhaps yours) may feel that if you’re doing that, then why not just get married? You can answer your parents’ concerns with these sound reasons millennials are waiting to get married later. And honestly, if you’re going to walk down the aisle at some point or another, your parents could probably relax about it, right?
They are familiar with the honeymoon phase
Since millennials don’t feel rushed to marry, many have a few long-term relationships before they do so. That means many are all too familiar with how excitement can just die off after about two years, so, they may wait for four, five, six…years to make sure that isn’t the case with this relationship.
They can live together
Since living together before marriage is no longer viewed as the big sin it used to be (for most, at least) a lot of couples think they should take the opportunity to see how living together goes, for quite some time, before getting married.
A wedding is a reward
Aw, that’s a nice way to look at it! Plenty of millennials feel that a wedding will be the celebration of a culmination of many things, including feeling accomplished in their careers. Accepting a $30,000 party when they’re barely making that a year at their job feels odd.
Gay marriage is up in the air
While gay marriage is legal. it’s still not nationally, warmly accepted, a fact that makes many heterosexual couples feel odd about partaking in the institution of marriage.
They know they’ve found their person
When you know, you’ve found your person—that one you’ll spend your life with—the rush to wed suddenly falls off. For some millennial couples who live together, in their minds, they already are married, and the ceremony is just a formality that they’ll get to when they have time.
They don’t want children
The pressure to reproduce isn’t as strong for millennials as it was for previous generations. Many millennials may see marriage as only necessary if you are building a family.
But if they want kids, there are options
With surrogates, adoption, in vitro and more, today, there is little reason for a couple to have children before they feel ready to. That brings us back to the concept that people don’t feel the need to get married before they feel ready to.
One of them has bad credit
Perhaps one person in the couple has some financial issues, and they’d rather keep their finances separate from their partner’s until they’ve worked that out.
Planning a wedding is a pain
If someone is in the prime of their career, working nights and weekends but happy to do it, then they simply don’t have time to plan a wedding.
They’re back in school
Graduate programs, acting school, business night school—you name it. A lot of millennials pursue an education long after earning their BA, and they can’t get the time off school to plan a wedding, let alone go on a honeymoon.
Their family will make it unpleasant
If a lot of millennials come from divorced parents, then that means a lot of millennials would have to deal with divorced parents at their weddings…and all that comes with that. That means the new significant others, the bitter ex-in-laws, the jealousy, the arguing over who walks you down the aisle etc…
They’d like to pay for it themselves
Millennials may not feel as comfortable allowing their parents to spend more on their wedding than they did their college education! Especially when they know their parents could use that money for their retirement. They’d like to pay for it themselves, but they’ll need time to save the money.
People are living longer
The reality is that people are living longer, so really, what’s the big deal if we wait until 35 instead of 25 to get married? We may be looking at 70 years together!
They are still learning to be adults
We can admit it; a lot of us don’t know exactly what is tax deductible, what a Roth IRA is, or what our physicians are talking about at doctor’s appointments yet. Getting married just feels like playing dress up if we’re still learning to take care of ourselves.